TVNZ and Spark aiming to give consumers 'choice' and 'control' as 2019 Rugby World Cup comes live with some games free to air

TVNZ and Spark have partnered to bring audiences the 2019 Rugby World Cup, free to air, giving "consumers choice, and giving them control".

For the first time since the 2007 edition of the tournament, audiences will be able to view the All Blacks' bid to become world champions free to air.

New Zealanders will be able to view all RWC2019 matches live or on-demand via Spark streaming over their broadband or mobile connection. It won't be restricted to Spark customers.

The tournament will be offered on a pay to watch basis, with packages to include a tournament pass and passes for individual matches.

TVNZ will screen selected matches free-to-air and won't break to ads in live game time.

Next year's World Cup isn't the only global tournament secured by the TVNZ-Spark partnership, with the 2021 Women's World Cup, 2018 Sevens World Cup, and 2018 and 2019 U20 tournaments also to be free to air.

In a media release, TVNZ CEO Kevin Kenrick spoke of his delight at being able to bring New Zealanders coverage of next year's global rugby showpiece.

"Our agreement will broaden the availability of New Zealand's biggest sport and give viewers even more choice."

"Together we're committed to delivering a fantastic viewing experience for all New Zealanders – making the most of Spark's leading digital technology and distribution capabilities and TVNZ's unrivalled audience reach and content expertise."

Speaking on TVNZ 1's Breakfast today, Kevin Kenrick and Spark managing director Simon Moutter detailed the process of broadcasting next year's tournament.

"This is the new world coming at us in video," Moutter said.

"We're going to deliver it primarily through an online streaming platform.

"They'll be delivered in a range of packages, people will be able to buy a single match, a tournament pass - at very affordable prices."

"The critical thing here is giving the consumers choice, and giving them control," Kenrick added.

Kenrick also said that the televised live coverage would differ from that of this year's Commonwealth Games.

"The Comm Games has been brilliant - we've had a great opportunity to learn by getting back into live sport in a big way."

"One of the lessons for us is about the placement of ads. I can tell you there will not be ads during live games of the Rugby World Cup.

"We've learned some lessons around that, and we're pretty keen to build on those."

TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick and Spark managing director Simon Moutter spoke on TVNZ1’s Breakfast after the Rugby World Cup coverage announcement. Source: Breakfast